Copper River salmon is said to be the best in the world. Here’s why this highly coveted fish is such a big deal.
The Copper River flows in Alaska. It is nearly 300 miles long, 10 miles wide, and replete with challenges like frigidly cold glacier-fed water, rushing rapids, and powerful currents. Every spring, King, Sockeye, and Coho salmon make their way from the Pacific Ocean up this treacherous river, where they’ll give birth to the next generation.
Because only the strong survive the Copper River, salmon must pack on pounds to complete their strenuous journey. Not only are Copper River salmon at peak maturity, they’re also extremely robust creatures with healthy stores of natural oils and body fat. These fats take the form of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to human health. Specifically, omega-3’s are critical for a healthy heart, brain, and nervous system. In addition to nutritional benefits, the salmons’ fat stores also lend themselves to a rich, buttery flavor. One bite of this fish and you’ll understand why foodies everywhere relish Copper River salmon. Some consider the start of the Copper River salmon season a holiday.
Sustainability is critical to those who fish the Copper River. Fishing families of south-central Alaska are independent, small business owners. They are dedicated to the long-term sustainability of their fish stocks, livelihood, and environment. They have tremendous respect for the fish and the ocean, and happily adhere to Alaska’s fishing guidelines—which are among the strictest in the world—to ensure abundance for future generations.
Fisherman Michael Bowen on his boat, the Jenna Marie. Michael has been salmon fishing on the Copper River since 1970.
Throughout the season, fishermen spend 12-24 hours at a time on their boat, using 900 foot-long gillnets to bring in their catch. Meet the fleet of fishermen and women who caught your fish:
Commercial fishermen are only allowed to fish the Copper River from mid-May to mid-June, meaning this fishy delicacy is only available for a few weeks each year. Get yours at your nearest Sunset Foods this Saturday, May 27th, from 10am-4pm. Fillets, steaks, and whole fish are available. Our team will happily cut (and even season and cook) your fish however you’d like.